Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Nickelodeon Movies Ranked

As the first parlors to exhibit films in public settings for mass consumption, it is impossible to understate the nickelodeon’s impact on cinema. These early 20th century… Oh. Wait. Wrong Nickelodeon.

As the studio to give our world SpongeBob Squarepants and Nacho Libre, it is impossible to understate Nickelodeon Movies’ impact on cinema. In these weary times of snark and cynicism (this sentence being puddin’ proof), count on the Nick to mount cheery, earnest films. Not only are they well-versed in the aforementioned cartoon spongiology, but Rugrats, the Ninja Turtles, Tintin, and the one-and-only Avatar have all called the studio home. And now we’re ranking every Nickelodeon Movie by Tomatometer!

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 12192%
Critics Consensus: The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.
Synopsis: The four nations of Air, Water, Earth and Fire lived in harmony until the Fire Nation declared war. A century... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 8782%
Critics Consensus: The initial set-up is unbelievable, the plotting is predictable and stale, and the comedy depends on repetitive pratfalls that soon get old.
Synopsis: When Coast Guard Adm. Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) decides to move his family of eight children back to his old... [More]
Directed By: Raja Gosnell

#32
Adjusted Score: 26659%
Critics Consensus: Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distinction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles.
Synopsis: Spawned from a lab experiment gone awry, teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

#31
Adjusted Score: 24621%
Critics Consensus: Unimaginative and unfunny, this tale of barnyard mischief borders on 'udder' creepiness and adds little to this summer's repertoire of animated films.
Synopsis: Like the other animals in the barn, Otis the bull (Kevin James) likes to sing and play while the farmer... [More]
Directed By: Steve Oedekerk

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 27924%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they... [More]
Directed By: Andy Fickman

#29

Fun Size (2012)
25%

#29
Adjusted Score: 26435%
Critics Consensus: It occasionally shows surprising flashes of wit, but Fun Size is too safe and formulaic -- not to mention unfunny -- to survive comparisons to the '80s teen movies it eagerly imitates.
Synopsis: Wren (Victoria Justice) is a high-school senior who can't wait to get away from her dysfunctional family. On Halloween, Wren's... [More]
Directed By: Josh Schwartz

#28

Snow Day (2000)
29%

#28
Adjusted Score: 29924%
Critics Consensus: Weak assembly of characters and story lines made this movie forgettable and silly.
Synopsis: Anything can happen on a snow day --- and for Hal and Natalie Brandston, it does. When the sun sets... [More]
Directed By: Chris Koch

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 30957%
Critics Consensus: Bland, unoriginal, and lacking the wit of the TV series, Hey Arnold is a 30 min cartoon stretched beyond its running time.
Synopsis: Arnold (Spencer Klein) and his pal, Gerald (Jamil Walker Smith), learn their beloved neighborhood is about to be torn down... [More]
Directed By: Tuck Tucker

#26

Clockstoppers (2002)
29%

#26
Adjusted Score: 31261%
Critics Consensus: A pleasant diversion for the young teens, but a waste of time for anyone older.
Synopsis: Until now, Zak Gibbs' (Jesse Bradford) greatest challenge has been to find a way to buy a car. But when... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes

#25

Monster Trucks (2016)
32%

#25
Adjusted Score: 37694%
Critics Consensus: Despite flashes of inspiration, the singularly high-concept Monster Trucks shows that it takes more than monsters and trucks to create a compelling feature film.
Synopsis: Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Lucas Till), a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Wedge

#24

Good Burger (1997)
34%

#24
Adjusted Score: 36066%
Critics Consensus: Good Burger might please hardcore fans of the 1990s Nickelodeon TV series that launched leads Kenan and Kel to stardom, but for all others, it will likely prove a comedy that is neither satisfyingly rare nor well done.
Synopsis: Teen misfits (Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson) at a modest burger joint face competition from a hamburger emporium across the street.... [More]
Directed By: Brian Robbins

#23

Wonder Park (2019)
34%

#23
Adjusted Score: 40091%
Critics Consensus: Colorful and energetic but lacking a compelling story, Wonder Park is little more than a competently made diversion for very young viewers.
Synopsis: Buckle up for an epic adventure where anything is possible. A young girl named June with a big imagination makes... [More]
Directed By: Dylan Brown

#22
Adjusted Score: 47439%
Critics Consensus: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a slight improvement over its predecessor, but still lacks the wit or anarchic energy of the comics that birthed the franchise.
Synopsis: The turtles face a new challenge when Shredder escapes from custody and joins forces with Baxter Stockman, a mad scientist... [More]
Directed By: Dave Green

#21

Rugrats Go Wild (2003)
39%

#21
Adjusted Score: 41495%
Critics Consensus: The Rugrats franchise has gone from fresh to formulaic.
Synopsis: Chuckie (Nancy Cartwright) and Tommy (Elizabeth Daily) find themselves stranded with their parents on a remote island. By coincidence, the... [More]
Directed By: Norton Virgien, John Eng

#20

Nacho Libre (2006)
40%

#20
Adjusted Score: 45907%
Critics Consensus: At times hilarious, but other times offensive, Director Jared Hess is unable to recapture the collective charisma of his Napoleon characters, instead relying on a one-joke concept that runs out of steam. Sure to entertain the adolescents, however.
Synopsis: Ignacio (Jack Black), or Nacho to his friends, works as a cook in the Mexican monastery where he grew up.... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#19

Imagine That (2009)
41%

#19
Adjusted Score: 44461%
Critics Consensus: Despite a promising turn by newcomer Yara Shahidi, Imagine That is another pedestrian family comedy that squanders Eddie Murphy's comedic talents.
Synopsis: Like many busy professionals, Evan Danielson (Eddie Murphy) is so focused on his career that quality time with his young... [More]
Directed By: Karey Kirkpatrick

#18

Hotel for Dogs (2009)
46%

#18
Adjusted Score: 49598%
Critics Consensus: Hotel for Dogs may appeal to children and dog lovers, but it's ultimately contrived, predictable, and simplistic.
Synopsis: After moving into a foster home that forbids pets, siblings Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) must quickly... [More]
Directed By: Thor Freudenthal

#17

Harriet the Spy (1996)
48%

#17
Adjusted Score: 49220%
Critics Consensus: Harriet the Spy is a rapid-fire mystery movie that doesn't have much to offer beyond the two decent lead performances.
Synopsis: Harriet (Michelle Trachtenberg) may only be in the sixth grade, but she's already found her calling: to be a spy.... [More]
Directed By: Bronwen Hughes

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 60298%
Critics Consensus: Charming characters; loads of fun for kids and adults.
Synopsis: This animated comedy finds Tommy Pickles (E.G. Daily) trying to return his baby brother to the hospital after being warned... [More]

#15
Adjusted Score: 69256%
Critics Consensus: Although its story may leave fans on the surface, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a wondrously wacky visit to Bikini Bottom that retains the charm of the original series.
Synopsis: In the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN, SpongeBob SquarePants, his best... [More]
Directed By: Tim Hill

#14
Adjusted Score: 72333%
Critics Consensus: Surreally goofy and entertaining for both children and their parents.
Synopsis: In this lively animated adventure, undersea oddball SpongeBob SquarePants and his starfish friend, Patrick, embark on a quest to clear... [More]

#13
Adjusted Score: 76697%
Critics Consensus: Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
Synopsis: After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#12
Adjusted Score: 73104%
Critics Consensus: Based on two of British writer Louise Rennison's popular books, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a pleasant and funny tween comedy, comfortable for UK audiences as well as stateside crowds.
Synopsis: Based on the books by Louise Rennison, this tale follows 14-year-old Georgia Nicholson as she attempts to woo Robbie, one... [More]
Directed By: Gurinder Chadha

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 75409%
Critics Consensus: What Jimmy Neutron lacks in computer animation, it makes up for in charm and cleverness.
Synopsis: "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" tells the simple story of a 10-year-old boy and his robot dog - battling evil, rescuing... [More]
Directed By: John A. Davis

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 82081%
Critics Consensus: Drawing deep from the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark playbook, Steven Spielberg has crafted another spirited, thrilling adventure in the form of Tintin.
Synopsis: While shopping at an outdoor market, young reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell), accompanied by his faithful dog, Snowy, buys a model... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#9
Adjusted Score: 78323%
Critics Consensus: When the Rugrats go to Paris, the result is Nickelodeon-style fun. The plot is effectively character-driven, and features catchy songs and great celebrity voice-acting.
Synopsis: In the long-running animated series' second feature film, the focus is on the show's perennial second banana, Chuckie (Christine Cavanaugh).... [More]

#8

Charlotte's Web (2006)
78%

#8
Adjusted Score: 84050%
Critics Consensus: Kids will be entertained by the straightforward plot and cute animals, and adults will be charmed by how quiet and humble the production is, a fine translation of E.B. White's genteel prose.
Synopsis: After learning that a young pig's days are numbered, a literate spider (Julia Roberts) weaves an elaborate plan to save... [More]
Directed By: Gary Winick

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 79768%
Critics Consensus: No job's too big and no pup's too small for PAW Patrol: The Movie, which should give its youthful target demographic exactly what they're looking for.
Synopsis: The PAW Patrol is on a roll! When their biggest rival, Humdinger, becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts... [More]
Directed By: Cal Brunker

#6
Adjusted Score: 81375%
Critics Consensus: The Wild Thornberrys Movie brings its beloved clan to the big screen for an animated adventure that should prove entertaining for all ages.
Synopsis: "The Wild Thornberrys" feature film finds one of America's favorite animated families going on wild adventures around the world. Now,... [More]

#5
Adjusted Score: 83707%
Critics Consensus: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water won't win over many viewers who aren't fans of the show, but for the converted, it's another colorful burst of manic fun.
Synopsis: Life is dandy in Bikini Bottom for SpongeBob Squarepants (Tom Kenny) and his friends Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), Squidward (Rodger Bumpass),... [More]

#4
Adjusted Score: 85664%
Critics Consensus: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an entertaining children's adventure, with heart and imagination to spare.
Synopsis: Of the three Grace children, Jared (Freddie Highmore) has always been thought of as the troublemaker. So when strange things... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#3

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
84%

#3
Adjusted Score: 88452%
Critics Consensus: This heartwarming documentary will win audiences over, as the sheer charm of precocious, enthusiastic children learning to dance resonates from the screen.
Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Marilyn Agrelo chronicles the lives of several New York City schoolchildren as they get ready for a dancing... [More]
Directed By: Marilyn Agrelo

#2
Adjusted Score: 93173%
Critics Consensus: Led by a winning performance from Isabela Moner, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a family-friendly adventure that retains its source material's youthful spirit.
Synopsis: Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle, nothing could prepare Dora for her most dangerous adventure yet --... [More]
Directed By: James Bobin

#1

Rango (2011)
88%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95564%
Critics Consensus: Rango is a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Johnny Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world.
Synopsis: A chameleon (Johnny Depp) who has lived as a sheltered family pet finds himself in the grip of an identity... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

Jack Black plays a video store clerk remaking classic movies after he accidentally erases the whole store in Be Kind Rewind. One of the most elaborate home-made replacement movies is the ’80s sci-fi classic Robocop.

“I play Robocop,” Black said. “It’s all [Michel] Gondry designs, basically car fenders for my legs, a blow dryer for the gun and holster. He’s brilliant in many ways and he thought of all of it. My character works in a junkyard and so all of the stuff was kind of built with junkyard parts.”

A comedy with Jack Black performing in low-tech movie remakes sounds like another big hit, but knowing Gondry’s indie style, even Black expects Be Kind might only reach the same audience as Nacho Libre.

“In the sense of, like, traditional big-budget comedies, you’re going to have all the shots, you’ll cover a scene from all the angles, over the shoulders, et cetera,” Black compared. “He’s not doing that. He has a very interesting way of shooting scenes and not a ton of coverage and also some things fall to the wayside. Just straight up plot and story are not always the most important thing to him as much as a feeling or an amazing image. Very creative and original doesn’t always translate to big box-office gold.”

The entire film was very contained as well. “It was another cool situation where we shot it almost all in this two-block radius in Passaic, New Jersey. I had my junkyard and then right across the street was this video rental store.”

Universal looks to score its first number one hit in nearly a year this weekend with the new Steve Carell comedy "Evan Almighty" which hits the multiplexes on Friday targeting a broad family audience.

Reaching out to adult moviegoers are MGM with the John Cusack chiller "1408" and Paramount Vantage with the Angelina Jolie starrer "A Mighty Heart." Overall, the marketplace could slow down a bit this weekend before another wave of high-profile summer blockbusters arrives towards the end of June.

The sixth consecutive sequel to open at number one has a different formula up its sleeve. "Evan Almighty" loses Jim Carrey from "Bruce Almighty," drops the rating from PG-13 to PG, and shifts the plot over to a Biblical story while courting family audiences. Michael Bay isn’t the only one with a transformer at the box office this summer. Universal’s big-budget comedy offering should easily top the charts, however the financial picture will be very different. Steve Carell, whose starpower has blossomed since the 2003’s "Bruce," takes over as the lead playing a TV anchorman-turned-congressman who is told by God to build an ark because a mighty flood is coming. Morgan Freeman reprises his supporting role as the big G.

On a budget rumored to have ballooned to $175M thanks to extensive special effects and overages, "Evan Almighty" stands as one of the priciest comedies ever. The loss of Jim Carrey means it has almost no chance of reaching the $68M three-day opening weekend gross of "Bruce" from four years ago when it shocked the film industry by kicking "The Matrix Reloaded" out of the top spot in only its second frame. It reached a domestic haul of $242.8M. "Evan Almighty" could conceivably gross half the amount of "Bruce," while costing twice as much to produce. Does that mean it will lose money? Not necessarily. "Evan" would love nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of "Night at the Museum," another effects-driven comedy led by a popular comedian aimed at families, which has grossed over $570M worldwide. If it can tap into that crowd, then it will be a divine road ahead.

"Evan"’s trim running time of about 90 minutes will help since multiplexes can schedule numerous showtimes per day. Competition will come from current chart-topper "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," another action-comedy sequel tamed down to a PG to cater to eight-year-old boys on summer vacation. Teens and young adults who have to wait until the fall to see new episodes of Carell’s "The Office" may line up for "Evan" and give it a try, despite the negative reviews. There’s not much else exciting that demo right now. And given its themes, moviegoers in the Bible Belt may contribute some solid sales on opening weekend as the studio is wisely targeting churches in its marketing outreach. Opening in 3,602 theaters, "Evan Almighty" could premiere to about $40M this weekend.


"Evan Almighty"

John Cusack hopes to avoid the current horror curse at the box office with his new psychological thriller "1408." The MGM release finds the actor playing a writer who checks into a haunted hotel room that many have died in. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars in the PG-13 pic. Scary movies have been slaughtered at the cash registers lately. Even star-driven adult thrillers have struggled as witnessed by openings of $11.2M for "Perfect Stranger" starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis, $10M for Hilary Swank‘s "The Reaping," $10M for Kevin Costner‘s "Mr. Brooks," and $7.6M for Luke Wilson‘s hotel-themed "Vacancy." Managing to surge a bit higher were Sandra Bullock‘s "Premonition" with $17.6M and Jim Carrey’s "The Number 23" with $14.6M. "1408" may not scare up that much business given consumer apathy towards fright flicks right now. Plus Cusack and Jackson are not really known for packing them in on opening weekend unless there are bigger stars present. Checking into 2,678 theaters, "1408" might take in about $12M this weekend.


John Cusack in "1408"

Angelina Jolie headlines this weekend’s serious offering for adult audiences, "A Mighty Heart." Directed by Michael Winterbottom ("The Road to Guantanamo," "Welcome to Sarajevo"), the R-rated film finds the Oscar-winning actress playing Mariane Pearl, wife of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and documents her struggle to find her kidnapped husband in Pakistan. In a summer of sequels and effects-driven action pictures for kids on vacation, Paramount Vantage is going after the adults that are often neglected at this time of year. Reviews for "Heart" have been strong with Jolie already earning kudos buzz and the film should appeal to the same audiences that came out for other acclaimed political thrillers like "United 93" ($11.5M, $6,395 average), "The Constant Gardener" ($8.7M, $6,444), and "Syriana" ($11.7M, $6,699). Competition will come from "Ocean’s Thirteen" and "Knocked Up" which have both been playing well with the 30-plus crowd. Debuting in about 1,350 theaters, "A Mighty Heart" might open in the vicinity of $7M.


Angelina Jolie in "A Mighty Heart"

Last weekend, Fox’s "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" opened at the top and was just one of six sequels to land in the top ten. Its 2005 predecessor tumbled 59% in its second weekend thanks to poor word-of-mouth and intense competition from newcomers "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Wedding Crashers" which stole over $90M worth of ticket sales away from holdover pics. "Silver Surfer" has been greeted with marginally better responses and will not face as much competition from the incoming class this weekend, although "Evan Almighty" will be gunning for that PG-loving family crowd. A drop of 55% would give the new "Fantastic Four" saga around $25M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $103M.

"Ocean’s Thirteen" will see some of its adult audience get pulled away by the weekend’s two new mature-skewing flicks. A 40% decline will leave the caper sequel with roughly $12M pushing the total to $91M after 17 days for Warner Bros. Universal’s comedy sensation "Knocked Up" will smash through the $100M mark this weekend, probably on Friday. Look for a 30% fall to around $10M boosting the cume to $108M.

LAST YEAR: Adam Sandler scored his usual table at the top spot with his comedy "Click" which bowed to $40M for Sony on its way to $137.3M domestically and over $235M worldwide. The Disney/Pixar toon "Cars" dropped to the runnerup spot but dipped only 31% to $23.3M. Sophomores "Nacho Libre" and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" were both hit hard and tumbled by more than 50% each to $12.7M and $9.8M, respectively. Focus launched the Tyrese Gibson actioner "Waist Deep" to a solid $9.4M from just over 1,000 theaters on its way to $21.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

With schools letting out for the summer, Hollywood rolls out a pair of PG-rated films hoping to attract kids to the multiplexes with some mindless fun.

Fox unleashes "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which looks to give the box office its seventh consecutive weekend ruled by a sequel. Warner Bros. counters the testosterone effects pic with its teen girl story "Nancy Drew" while The Weinstein Co. mixes the formulas by opening its all-female action flick "DOA: Dead or Alive."

Marvel super heroes look to top the charts for the third time this year with the new "Fantastic Four" film which reunites the main cast members of the first pic. That comic book actioner opened to a sturdy $56.1M in July 2005 and went on to gross $154.7M domestically and over $330M worldwide. Though panned by critics, it got the franchise going and Fox hopes to keep the cash registers ringing this summer. The studio aims to follow the same pattern it saw for its other Marvel ensemble series. 2000’s "X-Men" debuted to $54.5M and reached a $157.3M final with the 2003 and 2006 followups each grossing more and more.

But "Silver Surfer" is different from "X2: X-Men United" which bowed to $85.6M. That mutant sequel earned strong reviews, followed a predecessor that was well-received, and opened at the beginning of May when there was no competition. The current sequel fatigue that has been hitting the box office could prevent "Four" from expanding beyond its core base. The studio gets credit for building the marketing campaign around the Silver Surfer character so it feels like it is offering something new. The milder PG rating could allow it to reach a broader audience, but many parents may not even notice as the ads make it look like all the other PG-13 comic pics. Cruising into over 3,800 theaters, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" could take in around $53M this weekend.


"FF 2: ROTSS"

"Nancy Drew" hits the big screen with the teen sleuth from the popular mystery books moving to California to find herself in the middle of an unsolved case. The PG-rated film should see most of its business from the under-18 female set however since the property has been around for so long, it could bring in some older folks too. With Unfabulous star Emma Roberts as the title character, the Warner Bros. release offers little starpower beyond its core demographic. The studio will have to rely on the brand name and the current lack of films exciting girls. The turnout could be similar to what Warners saw two years ago in June 2005 with "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" which bowed to $9.8M over three days and $13.6M over its five-day launch. Opening in 2,612 theaters, "Nancy Drew" might debut with around $12M.


"Nancy Drew"

The videogame-inspired action film "DOA: Dead or Alive" gets a quiet release in 505 theaters on Friday. A babes-in-bikinis fight flick, the Weinstein Co. release is not being pushed too feverishly and will have little chance of drawing in business against the more high-profile action films out there now. With no major stars, the much-delayed PG-13 film might find itself with $1M or less this weekend.


"DOA: Dead Or Alive"

"Ocean’s Thirteen" was met with the smallest jackpot ever won by the franchise last weekend. "Ocean’s Twelve" fell by 53% in its second weekend in December 2004. The new installment should also see a steep drop given that it is the third time around and people are not exactly loving the pic. Warner Bros. could suffer a 55% decline and collect about $16M for a ten-day cume of $67M.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" has been dropping by more than 50% each weekend and with the new "Fantastic Four" sequel arriving, this frame should be no different. Look for sales to get sliced in half and dip to about $11M pushing the domestic cume to $272M.

A 30% drop could be in the works for "Knocked Up" which will not face much competition for adults. Look for a $14M weekend giving the Universal comedy $90M in 17 days.

LAST YEAR: The Disney/Pixar collaboration "Cars" held onto the top spot for a second weekend with $33.7M for a reasonable drop of 44%. The Jack Black comedy "Nacho Libre" led the newcomers with an opening of $28.3M on its way to $80.2M for Paramount. "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" followed in third with a $24M bow while "The Lake House" debuted in fourth with $13.6M. Final grosses reached $62.5M for Universal’s racing sequel and $52.3M for the Warner Bros. romance. Jennifer Aniston‘s "The Break-Up" ranked fifth with $9.8M in its third frame. The kidpic "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties" opened in seventh with $7.3M for Fox on its way to $28.4M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got holiday mischief ("Deck the Halls," starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito), a phenomenon known as déjà vu ("Déjà Vu," starring Denzel Washington), a spiritual journey through time ("The Fountain," starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz), and a mystical guitar pick ("Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny," starring Jack Black and Kyle Gass). What do the critics have to say?

The holiday season is nearly upon us, which means another poorly-reviewed seasonal comedy is hitting theaters. In "Deck the Halls," Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito star as next-door neighbors competing to hang the shiniest star upon the highest bough — or at least out-decorate each other. Practical jokes and one-upmanship ensue. The critics have made a list of the film’s problems and checked it twice, and they say it’s too juvenile to pull off the combination of slapstick and family togetherness it’s attempting. At 13 percent on the Tomatometer, "Deck the Halls" has coal in its stocking.


"Ok, the first one to cause rolling blackouts wins."

Denzel Washington rejoins director Tony Scott in "Déjà Vu" as an ATF agent who goes back in time to stop the murder of a woman he subsequently falls in love with. And while the movie’s high-concept angle is riling some critics, others are falling in love with Tony Scott’s unique visual twist on time travel. So either it’s an original take on a familiar concept or it’s about as believable as Keira Knightley the bounty hunter… At 59 percent, the pundits seem to favor the latter.


"So how do you say ‘deja vu’ in Aramaic?"

Beautiful and transcendent or muddled and pretentious? Darren Aronofsky‘s "The Fountain" is dividing the critics right down the middle. This philosophical, time-jumping sci-fi tale stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz as a couple in Conquistador-era Spain, the present, and in a space-age future who are obsessed with death and rebirth. "The Fountain" overflows with ideas and images, and while some critics praise the film’s striking visual flair and Aronofsky’s audacity, others say it’s ultimately too incoherent to pull off the "2001"-esque meditation it strives for. "The Fountain" currently stands at 39 percent on the Tomatometer.


Mosh pits have not evolved much in 500 years.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass set out to unleash the Greatest Movie in the World when "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny" hits theaters this week, but the critics have had a tough time figuring out if they’ve actually done it. The facts are smudged in this would-be biopic telling the story of the formation of The D and their quest to find a magical guitar pick that’ll transform them into rock gods. When the reviews are good The D look set to rock the world, but when they’re bad the word ‘cerebral’ pops up only in reference to what this movie is not. "Pick" currently stands at 48 percent on the Tomatometer.


"Eins, zwei, drei, Hasselhoff!"

"Bobby" and "For Your Consideration" opened in limited release last week, and now both are going wide. Emilio Estevez‘s "Bobby," an Altman-esque tale of the night of Robert Kennedy’s assassination starring half the population of California, is at 51 percent on the Tomatometer, and the Hollywood-skewering "For Your Consideration," Christopher Guest‘s latest ensemble comedy, is at 52 percent. Also opening this week in limited release are "Opal Dream," a coming-of-age tale about a little girl with imaginary friends in the outback, is at 80 percent, and "The History Boys," a tale of hypercompetitive English schoolboys adapted from Alan Bennett, is at 61 percent.


"The History Boys": the UK’s least intimidating street gang.

Finally, while it may be a bit early to call dreday as consistent a hitmaker as is Dr. Dre himself, it is worth noting that he came the closest to guessing the Tomatometer for "Let’s Go to Prison" (8 percent), making it his second consecutive Guess victory in a row. Watch out for player haters, dreday.

Thanks to Joe Utichi for his help on this article.

Recent Denzel Washington Movies:
——————————————-
88% — Inside Man (2006)
81% — The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
39% — Man on Fire (2004)
66% — Out of Time (2003)
79% — Antwone Fisher (2002)

Recent Jack Black Movies:
———————————
37% — Nacho Libre (2006)
84% — King Kong (2005)
35% — Shark Tale (2004)
6% — Envy (2004)
90% — School of Rock (2003)

In this week’s Ketchup, "Borat" blows away the box office competition, a new Sarah Connor is set for the small screen "Terminator," and Shia LaBoeuf describes life working for Michael Bay on "Transformers."

Also, "Casino Royale" impresses folks in the British press, and Heath Ledger talks about his role as The Joker in "The Dark Knight." Read on for more.

This Week’s Most Popular News:

Box Office Wrapup: Great Success! "Borat" #1 in U. S. and A.

America fell in love with "Borat" this weekend as the underdog movie-film about a TV journalist from Kazakhstan shocked the film industry by opening at number one, despite playing in a fraction of the theaters as Hollywood’s other new offerings.

We Have a New Sarah Connor!

Remember when we told you that some folks were turning the "Terminator" series into a weekly TV show? Well, they still are — and they hired a really attractive actress to play Sarah Connor.

Shia Labeouf Suffers for "Transformers" Movie

Shia LaBeouf, who plays a teen involved with giant robots in the upcoming "Transformers" movie, told Rotten Tomatoes that it wasn’t all fun and games making the Michael Bay epic.

British Critics Dig the New Bond

Looks like the early responses to "Casino Royale" are surprisingly strong — and you’d expect the British film experts to be particularly finicky about this specific series.

Heath Ledger Talks "Joker"
So now that we’ve all had time to digest the idea of "Heath Ledger = The Joker," the "Dark Knight" actor has chimed in with a few insights on how he’ll approach the iconic character.

"Now I will not be execute. Chenquieh!"

In Other News:

  • Lionsgate Films will distribute "Bratz: The Movie," the first feature film based on the popular toy franchise.
  • Chris Palmer will direct "A Spell for Chameleon," based on the Piers Anthony novel with Wolfgang Petersen producing.
  • Paramount Pictures has acquired rights to "Moonwalking With Einstein," the novel by Joshua Foer which will be adapted for the screen by Mike White ("Nacho Libre").
  • Universal has acquired rights to "Suite Francaise," the novel by Irene Nemirovsky, with Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist") adapting the screenplay.
  • "The Nativity Story" will premiere at The Vatican on November 26, followed by a December 1 release in the U.S.
  • Martin Scorsese has inked a four-year deal with Paramount Pictures, which will include DVD and television projects in addition to feature films.
  • Ashley Judd has purchased the rights to Robin Morgan’s novel "The Burning Time," and will adapt the screenplay.
  • Roger Corman and John Davison will produce the sci-fi action film "Space 3001."
  • Finally, RT would like to remember those notable figures in entertainment and media that have passed away this week: newsman Ed Bradley, composer Basil Poledouris, R&B crooner Gerald Levert, and actor Jack Palance.

Jack Palance

Johnny Depp made this weekend’s four new releases walk the plank as his megablockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest became the first film of the year to spend three consecutive frames at number one and zoomed past the $300M mark in record time.

Among the new offerings debuting in theaters, Sony’s animated film Monster House posted the best results opening in second place while M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest supernatural thriller Lady in the Water stumbled in its first weekend settling for third place. The comedies Clerks II from Kevin Smith and My Super Ex-Girlfriend from Ivan Reitman debuted with more modest single-digit results outside the top five. Overall ticket sales were a healthy amount ahead of last year’s.

Sailing past more box office records with ease, Pirates grossed an estimated $35M in its third weekend to remain the top choice among summer moviegoers across North America. Off a moderate 44%, the Disney smash became the fastest film to break the $300M mark when it surpassed the milestone on Saturday, its 16th day of release. Star Wars Episode III previously held the record doing the deed in 17 days last summer. Pirates now stands at $321.7M after a mere 17 days and has soared up to number 16 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which grossed $317.6M in 2001.

Dead Man’s Chest also entered a very exclusive club of films that reached the triple-century mark while still at number one. It joins only 1982’s E.T., 1997’s Titanic, and 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The third weekend hold for Pirates was commendable showing that the high seas adventure is not falling apart like many action sequels and instead still pleasing audiences. It now looks to be on course to reach $400M in box office treasure.

Sony generated a solid debut for the animated film Monster House which opened in second place with an estimated $23M from 3,553 locations. The PG-rated tale about three kids who discover an evil home averaged an impressive $6,473 per theater. Oscar-winning directors Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis served as executive producers and had their names used prominently in the marketing. As the first toon for kids in over a month, Monster scored with children and parents who made up the bulk of the audience. The studio released the $75M production in 163 3-D theaters which collected $2.6M of the overall gross for a sizzling $16,012 average. Reviews were mostly positive.

Suffering his worst opening since becoming an A-list director, M. Night Shyamalan saw his latest thriller Lady in the Water struggle in its debut grossing an estimated $18.2M from 3,235 theaters. The PG-13 film about a mysterious creature from the water who must return to her world averaged $5,629 per site. The opening was less than half the size of the $50.7M bow of Shyamalan’s last film The Village and less than one-third of the $60.1M that his previous film Signs took in when it opened in 2002. Critics panned Lady which was promoted as being a "bedtime story" as the Oscar-nominated filmmaker earned the worst reviews of his career.

Shyamalan’s last four thrillers were all released by Disney but after The Village, the studio passed on the opportunity to make Lady. The project found itself over at Warner Bros. Village opened impressively based on the brand name of Shyamalan, however negative word-of-mouth led to it crashing 68% on the second weekend and quickly disappearing soon after. In fact, its final domestic tally of $114.2M remains the lowest gross ever for any film opening north of $50M. Many former fans may have decided to pass on his follow-up which was Lady. It could be rough seas ahead for Water as well since its Saturday sales were flat compared to Friday’s. Plus, it has scored a weak B- average grade from over 3,000 users of Yahoo Movies which means ticket buyers have not been very thrilled.

Universal’s hit comedy You, Me, and Dupree dropped a moderate 41% in its second weekend and placed fourth with an estimated $12.8M. With a solid $45.3M in ten days, the $54M picture should find its way to a sturdy $70-75M. Fellow sophomore comedy Little Man saw a larger drop and fell 49% to an estimated $11M for a total of $40.6M in ten days. Sony’s $64M Wayans brothers film looks to find its way to $60-65M.

Fans showed support for Kevin Smith whose comedy sequel Clerks II debuted in sixth place with an estimated $9.6M from 2,150 theaters. Averaging a good $4,477 per site, the R-rated story of a pair of slackers still doing little with their lives in their thirties opened a bit weaker than Smith’s 2001 late-summer pic Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which bowed to $11M on its way to $30.1M. Ticket sales for Clerks II fell a sharp 18% on Saturday from Friday indicating that Smith’s loyal fans rushed out on opening day and that there may not be much of an audience left for future weeks. The film earned favorable reviews and was released by MGM and The Weinstein Company.

Fox saw a disappointing opening for its romantic comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend which debuted to an estimated $8.7M from 2,702 theaters for a mild $3,220 average. The PG-13 film stars Uma Thurman as a woman who is secretly a super hero that exacts revenge on her ex-boyfriend (Luke Wilson) for dumping her. Reviews were mixed for the Ivan Reitman-directed pic. Studio research showed that the audience was split evenly between men and women with those age 25 and older making up 59% of the crowd. With so many other comedies in the marketplace from Owen Wilson, the Wayans brothers, Kevin Smith, Meryl Streep, and Adam Sandler, plus Pirates still raking it in, audiences found no special reason to spend money on Ex-Girlfriend.

Superman Returns dipped 39% in its fourth flight to an estimated $7.5M and pushed its cume to $178.4M. The pricey Warner Bros. film is still ahead of the $171.9M that its last super hero film Batman Begins collected after the same amount of time. The Caped Crusader pic, however, held up better grossing $10M in its fourth frame. The $200M domestic mark still seems reachable for Superman. Overseas, the international cume climbed to $110M.

Meryl Streep’s hit comedy The Devil Wears Prada enjoyed another solid hold suffering the smallest decline in the top ten. The Fox release took in an estimated $7.4M, off only 29%, to lift its sum to $97.6M. Devil opened on the same weekend as Superman Returns with a much smaller gross, but is now doing nearly identical weekend business.

Disney bookended the top ten with its Pixar smash Cars which dropped 37% to an estimated $4.9M in its seventh lap. The animated hit has now grossed $229.4M putting it at number 49 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters after X-Men: The Last Stand which opened two weeks earlier and has taken in $232.8M to date.

The weekend’s four new releases tossed a quartet of summer pictures out of the top ten. Adam Sandler’s latest winner Click grossed an estimated $4M in its fifth frame, off 45%, for a total of $128.2M. The $83M Sony title should finish with $135-140M. Fellow comedy Nacho Libre with Jack Black tumbled 69% to an estimated $505,000 for a cume of $78.7M to date. Paramount looks to end its run with just under $80M.

Keanu Reeves grossed an estimated $661,000 for his sci-fi toon A Scanner Darkly and an estimated $625,000 for his sci-fi romance The Lake House this weekend. Warner Independent Pictures has taken in $3.2M with Scanner and is shooting for the $5M mark. Parent company Warner Bros. has grossed $50.7M with its Sandra Bullock tale and is heading for $52M.

The global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth remains a popular summer flick slipping just 14% to an estimated $1M in its ninth weekend. Paramount Vantage has collected $18.8M to date and is enjoying remarkable momentum.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $138.2M which was up 12% from last year when Johnny Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remained at number one for the second time with $28.3M; and up 2% from 2004 when Matt Damon‘s The Bourne Supremacy opened in the top spot with $52.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The Johnny Depp juggernaut Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest remained the most popular film in North America for a second weekend easily defending its box office crown against two new comedies that fought bitterly for the runnerup spot.

According to studio estimates, Sony’s Little Man narrowly edged out Universal’s You, Me and Dupree opening in second and third, respectively. With less than $400,000 separating the two new releases, chart positions could change when final numbers are tabulated on Monday.

Disney shattered more box office records with its runaway smash Pirates which hauled in an estimated $62.2M in its second weekend in theaters to boost its ten-day total to an eye-popping $258.2M. That’s the largest ten-day start of any film in history and the fastest any movie has cracked the quarter-billion dollar mark beating the old records which were both set last summer by Star Wars Episode III. The final Jedi sequel collected $236.9M in its first ten days and surged to $255.6M in its eleventh day.

Pirates did suffer a sizable 54% drop from its record-breaking opening weekend, however a large decline was widely expected since it had already absorbed such a massive amount of business when it entered its sophomore frame. Second weekend declines for the summer’s other big-budget tentpole pictures were larger including 56% for The Da Vinci Code, 59% for Superman Returns, and 67% for X-Men: The Last Stand. In just ten days, Dead Man’s Chest has quickly become the top-grossing film of 2006 and now sits at number 34 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Monsters, Inc. which grossed $255.9M in 2001.

The high seas adventure also enjoyed the third best second weekend gross ever trailing the $72.2M of 2004’s Shrek 2 and the $71.4M of 2002’s Spider-Man. Pirates is already the seventh biggest film ever for Disney and the fourth largest among live-action pics for the studio. The Mouse House also scored its 13th film to top the $200M mark which is the most of any Hollywood studio.Where can Captain Jack Sparrow sail to from here? The triple-century barrier should come crashing down by next weekend as the megablockbuster sequel continues on a trajectory that could see it loot $350-400M from the domestic market alone.

Opening in second place with an estimated $21.7M was Little Man starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans from director Keenan Ivory Wayans. The $64M Sony release averaged a stellar $8,567 from 2,533 theaters and tells the story of a diminutive crook who masquerades as a toddler in order to retrieve a stolen diamond. Teens and young adults made up the core crowd as studio data indicated that 59% of the audience was under the age of 25. Women slightly outnumbered the guys with 53% of the crowd. Reviews were mostly negative.

Little Man enjoyed an opening that was similar to that of the last effort by the Wayans brothers, White Chicks. That Sony comedy bowed on a Wednesday in June 2004 with a Friday-to-Sunday take of $19.7M as part of a $27.2M five-day launch on its way to $69.1M. The studio reported encouraging exit polls for Man with 85% marking it "excellent" or "very good." If estimates hold, it will be the third consecutive second place opening for Keenan Ivory Wayans after 2001’s Scary Movie 2 and White Chicks which were also summer comedies.

Close behind with an estimated $21.3M debut was Universal’s new comedy You, Me and Dupree. The PG-13 film averaged a solid $6,815 from 3,131 theaters and stars Owen Wilson as a houseguest who crashes in the home of a newlywed couple played by Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon. The $54M film played mostly to young adults in their twenties and thirties and skewed more towards women. Studio research indicated that 58% of the audience was under the age of 30 and 58% was female. Reviews were not very favorable. Dupree opened below the levels of Wilson’s previous hits like Starsky & Hutch which bowed to $28.1M in March 2004 and the $33.9M of Wedding Crashers which debuted one year ago this weekend.

While both new comedies opened with roughly the same weekend gross, and chart positions could change on Monday, it was Little Man that clearly delivered the more impressive performance. Playing in 600 fewer theaters, the Wayans brothers attracted enough of an audience to still sell the same amount of tickets and generated a per-theater average that was 26% stronger than Dupree’s. The Owen Wilson film however, cost $10M less to produce as it did not need to rely on costly special effects.

In its third battle against the forces of box office evil, the big-budget super hero flick Superman Returns fell to fourth place with an estimated $11.6M. Off a moderate 47%, the Warner Bros. pic lifted its cume to $163.7M after 19 days. The Man of Steel is well behind the $192.4M that War of the Worlds collected over the same period last year, but a bit ahead of Men in Black II‘s $158.1M from July 2002. However, those pricey pics posted stronger third weekend grosses of $15.2M and $14.6M, respectively. Superman Returns remains on a course to fly to $190-200M domestically which is less than what most in the industry were expecting from the Bryan Singer film.

Superman flew into over a dozen new countries around the world this weekend and grossed an estimated $38M from 36 markets to boost its international cume to $77M. In most territories, the comic book pic rocketed straight to number one, however in the United Kingdom it scored a solid number two bow behind the sophomore weekend of Pirates.

Despite competition from two new comedies, Meryl Streep held up well with her hit The Devil Wears Prada which grossed an estimated $10.5M in its third session. Down a little more than 30%, the Fox release has commanded an impressive $83.6M and is heading for the vicinity of $115M.

For the third straight weekend, the Disney/Pixar toon Cars enjoyed the smallest drop in the top ten and slipped less than 30% to an estimated $7.5M. After its sixth weekend, the G-rated blockbuster has upped its cume to a sturdy $219.7M passing The Da Vinci Code to become the third highest grossing film of the year after the Pirates and X-Men sequels. Cars is running 6% behind the pace of Pixar’s last film The Incredibles after the same amount of time, but is 3% ahead of the company’s Monsters, Inc. Those pics ended up with $261.4M and $255.3M, respectively. Cars looks to have enough gas in its tank to be able to reach $250M. Barring any surprise megahits, that would give Disney the two biggest blockbusters of the summer season. Coincidentally, the studio also ruled the 2003 summer contest with the first Pirates and Pixar’s Finding Nemo both crossing the $300M threshold.

Adam Sandler followed close behind in seventh with Click which fell 41% to an estimated $7M in its fourth frame. With $119.7M in the bank, the Sony release is still running a bit ahead of the studio’s 2003 Sandler vehicle Anger Management which collected $115.3M at the same point on its way to $135.6M. Click should be able to reach $135-140M.

The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock grossed an estimated $1.6M, off 45%, for a $48.9M total. The Warner Bros. romance should end with a respectable $53M. Paramount’s Nacho Libre laughed up an estimated $1.5M, down 54%, putting its sum at $77.1M. Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy looks to go home with around $81M.

Warner Independent Pictures expanded its animated crime drama A Scanner Darkly from 17 to 216 theaters nationwide and hit the top ten with an estimated $1.2M. Richard Linklater‘s R-rated film averaged a healthy $5,486 per location and raised its cume to $1.8M. The Keanu Reeves-starrer will stay in roughly the same number of locations this coming weekend.

With a brutal heat wave hitting much of the country, audiences continued to flock to the hit global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which slipped a scant 5% to an estimated $1.1M. Now in its eighth weekend of release, the Paramount Vantage title finished a hair out of the top ten and has taken in a solid $17M.

Three films from the Universal Studios family fell from the top ten over the weekend. The racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift dropped 59% to an estimated $1M in its fifth lap pushing its domestic total to $59.7M. The $75M actioner has grossed an additional $42M overseas and continues to open in new countries each week. In North America, look for a final take of $61M.

The Break-Up fell 52% to an estimated $777,000 giving the Vince VaughnJennifer Aniston comedy $116M to date. The $52M production should end its relationship with theaters at $118M. Internationally, Break-Up has grossed $24.5M thus far with major European markets like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy still to come between now and September. The Focus Features actioner Waist Deep tumbled 63% to an estimated $695,000 putting its cume at $20.7M. Little more is expected for the inexpensive film which might close with around $22M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $146.1M which was off 4% from last year when Johnny Depp‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory debuted at number one with $56.2M; but up 8% from 2004 when Will Smith‘s I, Robot opened in the top spot with $52.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Are you between the ages of 13 and 19? Do you like … stuff? Then click right here and cast your votes for the 329th annual Teen Choice Awards, which is where you can tell the universe that Puffy is more illing than Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell is funnier than Brad Pitt, and Katie Holmes is cuter than Katey Sagal. Or something.

Click right here for the ballot, but don’t even think of voting if you’re older than 19. The Teen Choice Awards employ a bunch of enforcers who’ll come to your house and check your birth certificate.

I had to lie about my age to check out the nominees (don’t tell anyone), but the TCAs are poised to celebrate some of the following flicks:

Best Action Adventure:
"King Kong," "Mission Impossible 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," "Superman Returns," "V for Vendetta," "X-Men: The Last Stand"

Best Drama: "Flightplan," "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "Pride & Prejudice," "Take the Lead," "Goal!," "Walk the Line"

Best Chick Flick: "Failure to Launch," "Just Like Heaven," "Just My Luck," "Last Holiday," "Aquamarine," "The Lake House"

Best Comedy: "Click," "Nacho Libre," "Scary Movie 4," "She’s the Man," "The Benchwarmers," "The Break-Up"

Best Thriller: "An American Haunting," "Hostel," "Red Eye," "Saw 2," "Silent Hill," "The Omen"

They also have a bunch of actor’s categories, but the choices managed to somehow get even sillier. Click here to cast your votes, kids.

The Man of Steel conquered the North American box office this weekend as the super hero adventure Superman Returns claimed the number one spot over the pre-Independence Day holiday frame.

Second place was taken by Meryl Streep whose new comedy The Devil Wears Prada opened with more muscle than expected. Most holdovers suffered substantial declines, however the overall marketplace remained slightly better than last year’s. But for the first time in five years, Hollywood will reach the Fourth of July without a summer film passing the $250M mark.

Flying to the top of the charts, Superman Returns collected an estimated $52.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $84.2M since its launch on Wednesday. The PG-13 film was the first new installment for the beloved comic book characeter in nearly two decades and averaged a strong $12,829 over three days from a massive 4,065 theaters. The total gross included about $3M from Tuesday night previews which began at 10:00pm and $5M from 76 Imax theaters where the film was presented with special 3D footage. The studio expects to reach a seven-day tally of $110M by the end of Tuesday.

Reviews were mostly positive for the Bryan Singer-directed film which saw newcomer Brandon Routh stepping into the title role following the late Christopher Reeve. Kevin Spacey plays arch-nemesis Lex Luthor while Kate Bosworth takes the role of Lois Lane. The pricey film carried a colossal production budget in the neighborhood of $250M which included about $40M in early development costs before the current cast and crew were in place.

Though a strong number one bow, the opening of Superman Returns did not match up to the debuts of similar action and sci-fi films. One year ago, the Tom Cruise alien invasion film War of the Worlds opened over the same holiday weekend with the same Wednesday start but grossed a higher $100.6M over its first five days. Four years ago, Men in Black II also premiered the same way and grossed $87.2M over its Wednesday-to-Sunday launch which at today’s ticket prices would be close to a nine-digit gross. The Kryptonian hero’s five-day opening even fell short of the three-day bow of Singer’s last film X2: X-Men United which opened to $85.6M three years ago.

However, Superman Returns did manage to open better than last summer’s Batman Begins which was another Warner Bros. film attempting to restart a dormant super hero franchise. That film captured $72.9M in its five-day debut including $48.7M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The new Clark Kent pic is off to a 16% better start than the new Bruce Wayne flick over five days, and only 7% better over the weekend portion. The studio hopes to have long legs again like it did with Batman which went on to gross $205.3M domestically.

But that will be a tough task for Superman which has a very different road ahead of it. Batman Begins had little direct competition in its second weekend plus had the Fourth of July holiday help its third frame. Superman, on the other hand, is already taking advantage of its only holiday which is boosting its opening week. Plus it has a juggernaut in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest opening on its second weekend which is aiming to steal away the same audience.

Competition was also a major factor for Superman Returns this weekend especially with The Devil Wears Prada stealing away a larger-than-expected female audience. The super hero film’s next three competitors collected a hefty $60.4M in ticket sales over the weekend. By comparison, War of the Worlds faced $35.3M in combined sales from the next three biggest films.

Internationally, the new Superman film took flight in the Asia/Pacific region and opened at number one in eleven countries grossing an estimated $19.8M from 1,750 theaters. Key markets included Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and India. The studio is holding back the film in Europe and Latin America until after the World Cup final which takes place on July 9.

Fox countered the super hero adventure with the femme-driven comedy The Devil Wears Prada and scored a terrific second place debut with an estimated $27M. Playing in 2,847 locations, the PG-13 film averaged a stunning $9,484 per theater and ranked as Meryl Streep’s best opening ever in a lead role. Devil was based on the best-selling novel about a small-town gal who lands a job as the assistant to the evil editor-in-chief of the fashion industry’s top magazine. Anne Hathaway co-stars. The Prada audience was immensely female as studio research showed that a whopping 79% were women. Those over the age of 25 made up 61% of the crowd.

With both The Lake House and The Break-Up aging, Devil found an opportunity to score with adult women with extra leisure time over of the long holiday weekend – especially those who had little interest in seeing Superman. The counter-programming move worked like a charm for Fox which spent over $40M on Prada which managed to tap into a built-in audience of fans of the book. Starpower from Streep and Hathaway also allowed for a broad age range to take interest. Reviews were mostly good.

Dropping from first to third was Adam Sandler‘s comedy Click which grossed an estimated $19.4M in its sophomore frame. Falling 52%, the Sony release has laughed up a solid $77.9M in ten days. Compared to the ten-day cumes of the studio’s previous Sandler comedies opening on the weekend before the Fourth of July frame, Click has done slightly better than the $73.6M of 2002’s Mr. Deeds but has not reached the $83.7M of 1999’s Big Daddy. Those films ended their runs with $126.3M and $163.5M, respectively. The $83M Click looks to find its way to about $130M.

Cars enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten slipping 40% to an estimated $14M for fourth place. The Disney/Pixar hit upped its cume to $182.1M. Paramount’s Nacho Libre fell 51% to an estimated $6.2M giving the Jack Black comedy $65M to date.

Folowing in sixth place was the Keanu ReevesSandra Bullock romance The Lake House with an estimated $4.5M, off 49%, leaving Warner Bros. with $38.7M thus far. Close behind with an estimated $4.4M was the street racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which dropped 55% in its third lap. Total to date stands at $51.7M.

The Tyrese Gibson actioner Waist Deep suffered the worst decline in the top ten tumbling 65% to an estimated $3.3M in its second weekend. The Focus release has grossed $15.2M in ten days and should finish up with around $22M. Universal’s comedy The Break-Up crumbled 57% to an estimated $2.8M while Sony’s religious thriller The Da Vinci Code rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.3M, off 43%. Cumes for each are $110.1M and $209.8M, respectively.

Although overall ticket sales continue to inch ahead of last year each weekend, the season’s top blockbusters remain weaker than those from 2005. The cumulative gross for the top five summer films this year reached $900.3M, down 8% from last summer’s five biggest hits at this same point.

Two Fox sequels fell from the top ten over the weekend. The year’s highest-grossing film X-Men: The Last Stand dropped 58% to an estimated $2.1M to boost its sum to $228.6M. The $165M film currently stands at number 48 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Signs which grossed $228M in 2002. The final mutant adventure is the top-grossing installment in the trilogy surpassing the $157.3M of 2000’s X-Men and the $214.9M of 2003’s X2 and should complete its domestic run with around $235M. Overseas, it has already grossed over $195M.

The studio has not had as much luck with its kidpic Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties which tumbled 62% to an estimated $2M in only its third weekend. Family audiences have rejected the cat flick spending only $21.5M on it thus far. The Garfield sequel looks to end up with only $25M or one-third of the $75.4M of its 2004 predecessor.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $136.2M which was up 5% from last year when War of the Worlds debuted at number one with $64.9M; but down 12% from 2004 when Spider-Man 2 opened in the top spot with $88.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Moviegoers grabbed their remote controls and flocked to the multiplexes this weekend to see Adam Sandler‘s latest comedy Click which became the comedian’s eighth number one hit thanks to its $40M opening, according to estimates.

Sony launched the PG-13 film in 3,749 theaters and averaged a healthy $10,670 per location. It was the second best opening of the year for a live-action comedy after the $40.2M bow of Scary Movie 4 in April. With this latest film, the funnyman has become the only actor to score $30M+ openings in each of the last five years proving what a consistent box office draw he continues to be. A-listers like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Jim Carrey cannot claim the same feat.

In Sandler’s latest vehicle, he plays a man who gets a magical remote control that gives him power over all others around him. Frank Coraci, who directed the comedian’s 1998 hits The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, helmed this latest pic which co-starred Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, and David Hasselhoff. Sony’s $83M production played to a broad audience. According to studio research, 51% of the crowd was female and 50% were under 25. Sandler has always been a strong draw with young guys, but with his role as a husband and father in Click, the actor was able to appeal evenly across the board to all four quadrants.

Reviews were poor, as expected, but audiences didn’t seem to care. Click is a marketing-driven film and starpower and concept sold it to those looking for some harmless summer laughs. The opening was right in the middle of the $37-43M range that five of Sandler’s previous comedies have debuted in. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, Click could very well go on to become the star’s seventh $100M blockbuster.

Following its two-week run in the top spot, the animated comedy Cars slipped to second place but displayed solid staying power. The G-rated film eased only 33% to an estimated $22.5M pushing the 17-day total to $155.9M. The decline was smaller than the third-weekend drops experienced by the most recent Disney/Pixar films The Incredibles (47% in November 2004) and Finding Nemo (39% in June 2003). Despite opening weaker, Cars is now holding up better and continues to benefit from word-of-mouth from family audiences. After 17 days of release, Cars is running 12% behind the pace of Incredibles and 19% behind Nemo. Competition for kids from Superman and Pirates in the weeks ahead will be fierce, but the racing toon could still drive to a final domestic haul of over $240M making it bigger than any other film released up to this point in the year.

After a stellar opening, the Jack Black comedy Nacho Libre stumbled 57% and placed third with an estimated $12.1M. Paramount has grossed a solid $52.7M in ten days and is heading for the $70-80M range. Nacho cost $35M to produce.

Tyrese Gibson flexed some muscle with his new actioner Waist Deep which opened impressively in fourth with an estimated $9.5M from just 1,004 theaters. The Focus Features release averaged a sizzling $9,414 per location. Reviews for the kidnapping drama were mostly negative, but audiences responded to the starpower and the action.

Slamming on the brakes, the action sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift suffered the worst decline in the top ten crashing 62% to an estimated $9.2M in its sophomore frame. With $42.6M in its tank, Universal’s $75M franchise pic has been performing exactly like another of the studio’s recent June action sequels – 2004’s Vin Diesel pic The Chronicles of Riddick. That film opened to a similar $24.3M, dropped 61% in the second frame, and generated a ten-day cume of $42.5M before finishing with $57.6M. Tokyo Drift should cross the finish line near the $60M mark as well.

The franchise’s last installment, 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, performed in the same way tumbling 63% in its second lap so Drift’s huge drop was expected. Overseas, the latest street racing pic remained at number one in the United Kingdom for a second straight weekend and pushed its international gross to $15.6M from a dozen countries. The studio projected number one openings this weekend in Indonesia, Finland, Portugal, Romania, and Trinidad. Japan, expected to be a big market for Tokyo Drift, does not open until September 18.

The Keanu ReevesSandra Bullock romance The Lake House enjoyed a reasonably good second date grossing an estimated $8.3M dropping 39%. After ten days, the Warner Bros. drama has taken in $29.2M and looks headed for the neighborhood of $60M. Lake bowed at number two in the U.K. this weekend with an estimated $1.5M from 343 locations. The film’s international roll-out will be spread out over the coming months.

Holding up well in seventh place was another film targeting adult women, The Break-Up starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. The Universal release grossed an estimated $6.1M, off only 38%, for a $103.7M cume. The unromantic comedy became the seventh film of 2006 to cross the $100M mark. Eight films had joined the century club at this point last year.

Fox’s kidpic sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties dropped just 35% in its second weekend and collected an estimated $4.8M. With a mere $16M in ten days, the PG-rated film looks to reach a disappointing $30M domestically or less than half of the $75.4M of its 2004 predecessor.

The year’s two highest-grossing films rounded out the top ten. Fox’s X-Men: The Last Stand took in an estimated $4.4M, down 44%, pushing its cume to $224.1M. The Da Vinci Code grossed an estimated $4M, off only 24%, giving Sony $205.5M to date. Collectively, the top five summer films have grossed $861.6M trailing last summer’s corresponding blockbusters by 5% at this same point in the season.

Two summer hits fell from the top ten over the weekend. Paramount’s release of the DreamWorks animated film Over the Hedge grabbed an estimated $2.7M this weekend. Off 37%, the PG-rated toon boosted its total to $144.5M and should reach around $152M by the end of its run. Fox’s remake of The Omen has had no legs and tumbled another 63% to an estimated $2.1M this weekend. The $25M film has scared up a solid $52M and looks to end with about $55M.

Paramount Vantage kept expanding its global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which widened from 403 to 514 theaters this weekend and grossed an estimated $1.9M. Averaging a decent $3,762 per site, the Al Gore pic has upped its sum to $9.5M and counting. Further expansions are planned for the coming weeks.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Although Father’s Day has passed, Hollywood brings out two very different stories about dads and their wacky adventures this weekend with Adam Sandler‘s comedy Click and Tyrese Gibson‘s actioner Waist Deep, both opening in theaters on Friday. Comedy has been ruling the box office throughout the month of June and that trend should continue until the Man of Steel arrives next week.

Looking for his seventh trip across the $100M mark, Adam Sandler returns to the big screen with his latest comedy Click. Released by his favorite studio Sony, the PG-13 pic tells the story of a man who comes across a magical remote control that gives him the power to manipulate his whole world, from his family at home to his boss at work. Frank Coraci follows up The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy by directing the funnyman for a third time while Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Kate Beckinsale, and Henry Winkler co-star. Sandler, who turns forty this year, is moving on from his slacker roles playing a husband and father. This makes sense as his fan base is aging too.

The comedian typically picks films with unique concepts and Click is no different. The story is not run-of-the-mill, but an interesting what-if scenario that will make audiences curious. Trailers and commercials have been funny so another blockbuster that satisfies moviegoers is in the works. Over the last eight years, Sandler has seen his bigger hits like Waterboy, Big Daddy, Anger Management, Mr. Deeds, and 50 First Dates all open in the $37-42M range with opening weekend averages of more than $11,000 each time. His most recent film The Longest Yard scored a bit better last summer opening to $47.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. The guy comes out with about one movie per year so audiences don’t get too much of him.

Young men make up the actor’s bread and butter, however you don’t open north of $40M by just appealing to this group. Female appeal is also solid with his films and Click should click with chicks too. Still, Nacho Libre and The Fast and the Furious sequel will be in their second weekends and even though both are expected to drop hard, the duo will still provide some competition for Sandler. However, since Waist Deep is looking to be a relatively small pic in the marketplace, this weekend shapes up to be one where Click is the only major new wide release. That should make frequent moviegoers like teens and twentysomethings look at it as the only new game in town.

Sony has invested heavily in the marketing push and summer is a time when people want to laugh so the returns should be healthy. Opinions of critics should not matter much. One of the most reliable box office draws around, Adam Sandler will see the widest opening of his career with a launch in 3,748 theaters this weekend. That could push Click to around $43M over the Friday-to-Sunday span.

Tyrese Gibson plays an ex-con on a fast and furious hunt to get back his kidnapped son in the new action drama Waist Deep from Focus Features’ Rogue Pictures division. Directed by Vondie Curtis Hall (Glitter, Gridlock’d), the R-rated film also stars Meagan Good, Larenz Tate and hip hop star The Game. Gibson jumped from the modeling world into movies and has become a player although his roles have always been opposite other established box office draws. This time, he anchors solo as none of his co-stars have a track record of opening films on their own.

Waist Deep will play primarily to an urban audience with African Americans making up the largest component. Whites are not likely to show much interest. This same audience powered ATL to a stellar $11.6M bow from 1,602 theaters this past spring. However, Waist does not seem to have the same level of hype plus it will debut in fewer theaters. Most of the film’s competition will come from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which is likely to fall sharply this weekend. The marketing push has been targeted and is trying to appeal to fans of The Game who in recent years has developed a large fan base. Opening in 1,004 theaters, Waist Deep might shoot up about $6M this weekend.

Opening in limited release this weekend, Roadside Attractions offers the controversial film The Road to Guantanamo which tells the story of a group of Pakistani men from England who are detained while traveling to Afghanistan and imprisoned and tortured by the U.S. military. Told through a mix of interviews with survivors and re-enactments of the events, the R-rated pic won the best director prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and hits 15 theaters in North America before expanding.

After two laps as box office champ, the Disney/Pixar animated hit Cars looks to decelerate some more this weekend for a second place finish. The film’s 43% second weekend decline was the biggest for any Pixar toon since 1999’s Toy Story 2 which was coming off of a Thanksgiving holiday launch. Cars should see its drop stabilize since this weekend’s offerings should not pull away too many young children. A decline of 40% to about $20M could result giving the Lightning McQueen pic $152M in 17 days.

Jack Black flexed some amazing muscles last weekend with the debut of Nacho Libre. Adam Sandler will provide some stiff competition for young males so a sizable drop of 50% could occur giving Paramount a weekend take of around $14M. That would still give the wrestling comedy a solid $54M in ten days.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift also debuted impressively last weekend tapping into a similar audience, but a steep sophomore crash is imminent. The last film in the franchise, 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, tumbled 63% in its second race. This latest Universal sequel has also burned through its upfront crowd plus will face competition for young guys from Click and for the urban audience from Waist Deep. A hefty 60% fall would leave Tokyo Drift with $9M for the weekend and $42M in ten days.

Keanu and Sandra snuggled up to a decent, but not spectacular, opening for their romance The Lake House. Adult women will not be too distracted by the new options so a moderate 40% drop could result. That would give the Warner Bros. release $8M for the frame and a ten-day tally of $29M.

LAST YEAR: Topping the charts for a second straight weekend, Batman Begins grossed $27.6M dropping 43% from its opening giving Warner Bros. an encouraging hold. Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell powered their new comedy Bewitched into the number two slot opening with $20.1M. The Sony release found its way to $62.3M. Fox’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith placed third with $16.8M in its third fight. Two new releases rounded out the top ten. Disney’s Lindsay Lohan film Herbie: Fully Loaded opened to $12.7M and $17.7M over five days, while Universal’s zombie flick Land of the Dead bowed to $10.2M. Final grosses reached $66M and $20.5M, respectively. In limited release, the inner city dancing documentary Rize opened to $1.6M from 352 theaters for a $4,474 average putting it in 12th place. Lions Gate collected $3.3M by the end of its short run.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Despite the arrival of four new films cluttering the multiplexes, the Disney/Pixar animated film Cars remained the most popular movie in North America for a second straight weekend.

Among the freshman class, both the comedy Nacho Libre and the actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift opened with impressive numbers targeting young male moviegoers. The Keanu ReevesSandra Bullock romance The Lake House appealed to adult women and saw a respectable showing while the kid sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties opened poorly. With so much new product entering the marketplace, most holdovers suffered large declines.

Cars was once again the box office champion and grossed an estimated $31.2M in its second weekend boosting its ten-day cume to a stellar $114.5M. Though taking home another trophy, the G-rated film experienced a disturbing decline of 48% from last weekend which was much higher than the sophomore drops of previous Disney/Pixar toons. The last film from the companies, The Incredibles, dipped only 29% while 2003’s Finding Nemo eased 34%. Each bowed to about $70M and raced to over $143M in ten days. Cars opened last week about $10M weaker and is now eroding faster which means it is not likely to come close to the lofty heights reached previously. After ten days, Cars is running 20% behind the pace of Nemo and Incredibles. The talking automobile flick will still try to reach the $200M mark before running out of gas.

Opening a few notches behind in second place was the wrestling comedy Nacho Libre with an estimated $27.5M from 3,070 theaters. Averaging a muscular $8,962 per ring, the Paramount release stars Jack Black as a cook who moonlights as a flamboyant wrestler and was directed by Napoleon Dynamite’s Jared Hess. The $35M film appealed to young guys with studio data showing that 53% of the audience was male and 55% was under the age of 25. Nacho Libre began its weekend a bit early with 10pm preview shows on Thursday night which helped propel Friday’s opening day to a solid $11M. The PG-rated film dropped 14% to $9.4M on Saturday however, which could indicate a bumpy ride ahead.

Universal raced into third place with its street racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which opened with an estimated $24.1M. The PG-13 pic debuted in 3,027 locations and averaged a strong $7,947 average. The studio generated a strong performance considering this was the third time around for the franchise and that most of the stars of the first two Furious films were nowhere to be found. Young guys were the driving force behind the $75M Drift which like its predecessors appealed to a multicultural audience. According to studio data, 58% of the audience was male, 60% was under 25, and 71% was non-white.

Lucas Black and Bow Wow led the mostly unknown cast as fans responded more to the fast cars and racing attitudes than to starpower. The studio’s decision to include Vin Diesel‘s cameo in the television commercials also may have sparked interest from fans of the franchise. Tokyo Drift did not open as well as the first two pics in the series, but that was expected. In 2001, The Fast and the Furious opened to $40.1M on its way to $144.5M while its 2003 sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious debuted to $50.5M leading to a $127.2M tally. Tokyo Drift also opened in eight international markets this weekend grossing an estimated $7.5M from 825 theaters including number one openings in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand. Japan, where the film is set, will open in September.

A dozen years after exciting audiences in Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunited in the romantic drama The Lake House which debuted in fourth place with an estimated $13.7M. The Warner Bros. release averaged a respectable $5,166 from 2,645 theaters. The PG-rated film was a remake of the Korean drama Il Mare and told the story of a man and a woman from two different years who communicate and fall in love through letters they send to each other in a magical mailbox at a lake house. Reviews were not very good and both stars routinely see bigger openings for their films.

Universal’s The Break-Up dropped 53% in its third weekend and took fifth place with an estimated $9.5M boosting the 17-day cume to $91.9M.

Fox took up the next three spots on the chart starting with its kidpic sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties which flopped in its debut grossing an estimated $7.2M. Playing in 2,945 theaters, the PG-rated comedy averaged a weak $2,445 per venue. The first Garfield opened to $21.7M in June 2004 on its way to $75.4M domestically and a stellar $198M worldwide forcing the studio to dip into the well again with a new story. Bill Murray returned to voice the fat cat in Kitties which brought the characters to England for another adventure, but most families did not show much interest.

The year’s top-grossing domestic hit, X-Men: The Last Stand, tumbled another 56% in its fourth outing and grossed an estimated $7.2M. With a stellar $215.5M in the bank, the mutant sequel became the top-grossing installment of the super hero trilogy surpassing the $214.9M of X2: X-Men United from 2003. The horror remake The Omen placed eighth with an estimated $5.4M conveniently making its decline 66.6%. The top ten’s only R-rated pic has now grossed $46.9M to date for Fox.

Sony’s The Da Vinci Code followed with an estimated $5M, off 52%, pushing the domestic cume to $198.5M. Overseas, the Ron HowardTom Hanks vehicle uncovered another $15.2M this weekend as the international sum surged to $480M. The world’s biggest blockbuster of the year has now taken in an incredible $678.5M globally. Rounding out the top ten was the animated pic Over the Hedge with an estimated $4M, off 60%, for a $138.8M total.

The biggest summer hits continued to keep pace with last year’s. The collective gross for the top five summer releases reached $797.3M which was down less than 1% from the $802.5M from this point a year ago.

Four films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Robert Altman‘s A Prairie Home Companion fell 43% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $2.6M giving the Picturehouse release a ten-day tally of $8.8M. Look for a finish in the vicinity of $15M. The hit family comedy RV held up well during its seven-week run in the top ten, but this weekend the Robin Williams pic crashed 74% and grossed an estimated $500,000. With $66.4M in its tank, the Sony release is not expected to collect much more.

The Tom Cruise spy sequel Mission: Impossible III tumbled 61% in its seventh mission to an estimated $1.2M putting its cume at $130M. The Paramount sequel is the highest-grossing summer kick-off film since 2003’s X2, but with a $150M budget and a deafening amount of marketing hype, it has to be considered somewhat disappointing for the studio. The first two Mission pics grossed $181M in 1996 and $215.4M in 2000. MI3 should end its campaign with around $132M. Overseas, the Ethan Hunt film has grossed more than $200M to date.

The summer season’s second big offering Poseidon continued to sink dropping 66% in its sixth weekend to an estimated $620,000. The $160M Warner Bros. disaster film has taken in only $56.5M from North America making it one of the biggest underachievers of the summer. However, like most effects-driven action films, Poseidon is doing much better internationally where it grossed another $9M from 41 countries this weekend to boost the overseas take to $70.8M. Korea and Japan continue to be the most successful markets for the ocean liner pic with grosses that far outdistance those in key European territories.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $134.7M which was up 6% from last year when Batman Begins debuted at number one with $48.7M; and up 5% from 2004 when Dodgeball opened in the top spot with $30.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got wrestlers ("Nacho Libre"), Tokyo drifters ("The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"), time-delayed lovers ("The Lake House"), and lasagna-loving felines ("Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties"). What do the critics have to say?

I’m sure I speak for much of humanity when I say that each time I see Jack Black in a wrestling outfit on the posters for "Nacho Libre," I chuckle to myself. Heartily. The critics, who’ve actually seen the movie, have been a little less charitable. Black stars as a man who becomes a wrestler to raise money for orphans who live in the monastery where he grew up. While some critics say the film has its share of laughs, others say the sophomore effort of Jared ("Napoleon Dynamite") Hess is the very definition of sophomoric. At 49 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Nacho" is only sort of tasty. And it’s nowhere near "Dynamite" (71 percent).


"Nacho Libre:" Let’s get ready to rumble!

In the third installment of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, a new collection of thrill seekers head to Japan to engage in "drifting," that exciting brand of motorsport that values oversteering. Let’s be honest: Nobody is going to this one for anything but action, nifty driving, and other assorted cheap thrills (this ain’t "Two-Lane Blacktop"). And even utilizing those limited criteria, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" only attains a modest amount of success. The critics say that while the driving sequences are reasonably cool, the characters are about as well-crafted as a pinewood-derby cart that ends up in a ditch. It’s currently at 41 percent on the Tomatometer, trailing the original "F&F" (at 50 percent).


"Tokyo Drift": Faster and furious to an even greater degree

There are a lot of reasons relationships don’t work out. Sometimes couples live too far apart, or have vastly different schedules. But what about a couple communicating across a two-year time difference — can this relationship be saved? Unfortunately for "The Lake House," starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, the answer appears to be no. The critics say the film’s premise (it’s a remake of the 2002 Korean film "Il Mare") is not necessarily a bad idea, but the execution is off; the film is neither effective as a romance or as a metaphysical puzzle. At 32 percent on the Tomatometer, this "House" looks like a fixer-upper. And how does it compare with "Speed," the last Reeves/Bullock collabo? Do you even need to ask?


"I should probably tell you that I’m taking the bus because I had my driver’s license revoked."

The scribes’ response to "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties" has prompted Critical Consensus to paraphrase from Charles Dickens‘ "A Tale of Two Cities": "[The critics] looked at [Garfield] sideways with a stronger concentration of keenness, closeness, and dislike, than was comportable with its wearer’s assumption of indifference." The operative words here are "indifference" and "dislike," as critics say "Garfield" wastes a talented voice cast (Bill Murray, Bob Hoskins, Tim Curry) in a dull, relatively laugh-free plot. At 17 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes have one thing to say: Bad "Kitties!" (By the way, the original was at 13 percent.)


"Garfield:" Let’s get ready to rumble… again!

Also this week, in limited release: "Wordplay," a doc about New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz, is at 89 percent; G.W. Pabst‘s silent classic "Pandora’s Box," starring the staggeringly beautiful Louise Brooks, is at 83 percent; the gritty Brazilian love triangle "Lower City" is at 57 percent; the gay cult-fave comic strip adaptation "The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green" is at 33 percent; and Kevin Bacon‘s second directorial effort, "Loverboy," is at 14 percent.

Movies with the Words "Fast" and "Furious" in their titles:
———————————————————————–
38% — 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
50% — The Fast and the Furious (2001)
N/A — The Fast and the Furious (1954)

Recent Jack Black Movies:
———————————
84% — King Kong (2005)
6% — Envy (2004)
35% — Shark Tale (2004)
90% — School of Rock (2003)
49% — Orange County (2002)

Reunion fever hits the multiplexes this weekend as four new releases debut bringing together a lot of familiar faces.

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunite in the romantic drama The Lake House which will play to adult women, while Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties reassembles the cast of the first film in a new British adventure aimed at families. Another sequel taking a successful formula and transplanting it into another country is the action pic The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which hopes to entice young guys. But the one new film which could flex the most muscle is Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy Nacho Libre which also will be attacking younger boys. With six films reaching double-digit millions last weekend, and four new potent entries opening on Friday, the marketplace will certainly be crowded.

Fresh from his battle with the eighth wonder of the world, Jack Black returns to his bread and butter with the new Paramount comedy Nacho Libre. The PG-rated film is directed by Jared Hess, who helmed the 2004 sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite, and sees Black playing a cook who moonlights as a masked grappler south of the border. Shooting directly for immature adolescents, Nacho is purely a marketing-driven film for summer kids. Rather than spend its time and money opening the door for hundreds of critics to pan the pic early on, Paramount has instead chosen to put all its force behind its advertising campaign and is so confident in the excitement it has been building, it is launching the film early on Thursday night with 10pm showtimes at select theaters across the country. Since the movie skews younger, the earlier time should make it more accessible than the standard midnight shows.

Black certainly can shine in the comedy genre as evidenced by his 2003 hit School of Rock which opened at number one with $19.6M on its way to a robust $81.3M. Plus with Viacom sibling Nickelodeon adding its promotional muscle, and school children starting their summer vacations and looking for mindless entertainment to rot their brains, Nacho could be the hot item on the menu. Older boys may be distracted by the Fast and the Furious sequel this weekend which could put a limit on how high Nacho can fly. Plus the Disney/Pixar hit Cars is only in its second weekend so competition for kids will be fierce. Body slamming its foes in over 2,800 theaters, Nacho Libre might pin down about $24M over the weekend.

Universal kicks in the nitrous oxide for a third time in its street racing actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Ditching all the major stars of the first two installments (sort of), this PG-13 entry takes the tough-guy-likes-to-race-and-be-cool formula and moves the setting to Japan where an American must learn the local style of racing in order to score some street cred. Paul Walker who starred in the original 2001 surprise blockbuster and the very successful 2003 follow-up 2 Fast 2 Furious is nowhere to be found. Instead, the lead role is taken by Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights, Jarhead) while the rapper-turned-actor slot filled previously by Ja Rule and Ludacris now gets passed on to Bow Wow (Like Mike, Roll Bounce). With little starpower, concept will have to sell here.

Since Drift is the third dip into the same well, and with the recognizable stars from before not starring again, some fans of the previous films will wait for this one on a "tricked out" DVD. Young guys are the core audience here and with schools letting out for the summer, many will give Drift a chance hoping it will be a summer thrill ride. Acting and writing score pretty low in this one, but the target audience is not likely to care too much since there is an abundance of hot cars and hot babes. But Nacho Libre could put a dent in the grosses since it will be stealing away many of the same young males this weekend. Tokyo Drift is not likely to reach the openings of the first two Furious pics which bowed to $40.1M and $50.5M, respectively. Speeding into 3,027 locations, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift may cross the finish line with around $21M.

Twelve years and one week after they crashed into theaters in Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reteam but this time in a romantic drama starring in The Lake House. A remake of the Korean film Il Mare, the PG-rated film tells the story of a man and woman, two years apart in time, who communicate with each other through the mailbox of a lake house and fall in love. Sci-fi and romance don’t snuggle up too often, so this Warner Bros. release prides itself on a story that has a unique twist to it. But it’s really the starpower that will drive sales for The Lake House. These actors look good together and mature adults will be sold. In some ways, Lake House resembles the Al Pacino-Robert De Niro actioner Heat in that moviegoers will be drawn in by two leads who hardly share any actual screen time together. But that shouldn’t matter to Speed freaks everywhere who would love to see Reeves and Bullock back together again without a looney Dennis Hopper trying to blow them up.

Adult women will overwhelmingly make up the audience here. Lake House should play to the same crowd that came out for two other star-driven films aimed at older women in the first half of the summer of 2002. The Richard GereDiane Lane drama Unfaithful opened to $14.1M and a $5,383 average in May while Bullock’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood debuted to $16.2M and a $6,449 average a month later. Many of the same folks will hit theaters this weekend. Competition will come from The Break-Up which also has been skewing heavily female although Cars will be a factor as well since it has been pulling in moms with small children. Given the ages of the stars, Lake House should also do well with twentysomething single women too. Opening in 2,645 theaters, The Lake House could open with about $17M this weekend.

Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and the vocal chords of Bill Murray reunite for the family comedy Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. The PG-rated film is the sequel to Fox’s Garfield: The Movie which was a solid hit two years ago when it opened to $21.7M on its way to $75.4M domestically and nearly $200M worldwide. With strong international sales, and further success on video and television, the studio decided that a sequel could bring in more profits. This new tale finds everyone’s favorite fat cat going to England where he is mistaken for a local feline who is royalty. The studio has had a tough problem finding the right release date. Garfield was originally scheduled to open next Friday, one week ahead of Superman Returns, but was moved up one week and now must face the sophomore frame of Cars which is already doing brisk biz with the exact same audience.

While the first film was successful, it did not become the type of pop culture smash that had fans demanding more. Fox’s best bet might be with families that already came out to see the Pixar toon. Long-term success may also be tough since kids of all ages will have interest in seeing the Man of Steel. The studio’s marketing push has been commendable and there is somewhat of a built-in fan base the film will tap into. But it may find itself on the same path as the Scooby Doo sequel which went on to gross 45% less than its predecessor. Opening in over 2,900 theaters, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties might debut with around $14M this weekend.

Opening in a pair of New York sites is the IFC Films release Wordplay, a documentary that looks at The New York Times crossword puzzles and the celebs that just can’t get enough of them. The PG-rated film played at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals earlier this year and features commentary from such crossword fans as Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Jon Stewart. The former commander-in-chief even snagged the coveted "and" credit.

With all the new drivers on the highway, Cars will try to stay ahead of the pack and hold onto pole position in its second lap. The Disney/Pixar film’s $60.1M bow was slightly below what the industry was expecting given the track record of the pair’s previous computer animated movies. However, their digital toons usually have good legs and with more kids getting out of school this week, a solid sophomore performance should result. The Incredibles dropped only 29% in its second weekend in November 2004 while Finding Nemo slipped 34% in June 2003.

Cars has been holding up well mid-week as its target audience has become more available. Although it opened behind the $68M launch of Ice Age: The Meltdown this past spring, the stronger weekday business should allow Cars to match or exceed the $81.9M gross that the prehistoric sequel collected in its first seven days. Garfield will take away some of the family audience and Nacho Libre should distract many young boys so competition will be fierce. A 45% drop for Cars would give the toon about $33M for the frame keeping it in the number one spot. That would give Disney a robust $115M in ten days.

Keanu and Sandra will steal away the attention of women from Vince and Jennifer this weekend. The Break-Up will face direct competition from The Lake House for its core audience of adult females so another sizable drop could be in the works. A 40% fall would give Universal a weekend tally of around $12M pushing the 17-day cume to a still-impressive $94M.

Fox grabbed $16M and change last weekend with each of its films X-Men: The Last Stand and The Omen. The mutant saga could see sales get sliced in half while the horror remake, because of its mid-week launch, might suffer a slightly smaller decline. This weekend could find Omen taking in roughly $9M for a $50M total and X-Men grossing about $8M boosting its cume to $216M making it the top-grossing installment of the franchise.

LAST YEAR: Super hero power hit the box office with the top spot debut of Batman Begins which relaunched a profitable franchise for Warner Bros. with its $48.7M opening weekend. Bowing on Wednesday, the Caped Crusader grossed a solid $72.9M over five days and went on to display good legs reaching $205.3M domestically and over $370M worldwide. The rest of the top films all got bumped down a notch by the Dark Knight. Fox’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith placed second with $26M in its sophomore frame while DreamWorks followed with Madagascar which took in $10.7M in its fourth adventure. Fox reappeared in the number four slot with $10M for Star Wars Episode III and Paramount rounded out the top five with The Longest Yard which scored $8.2M. The only other new wide release to challenge Batman was the chick flick The Perfect Man starring Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear. The Universal title opened to just $5.3M on its way to $16.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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